Friday, October 22, 2010

The Smiths. The 15 Best Songs

Last week I posted my The 15 Best Songs of Morrissey, so now it's time for the Top 15 by The Smiths. Over the last several days I've been listening to all of the albums, narrowing it down from a long list - not an easy task! There are so many great songs, so I'm sure if I did this again in a month it would be different. These two lists were inspired by the book I'm reading - Mozipedia. It's an encyclopedia of everything involving Morrissey. 

If you'd like to have a listen to the songs on this list, scroll to the bottom for a Spotify playlist.

15.  What Difference Does it Make?
Released as single; appeared on the album The Smiths (1984)
Although it was one of the highest charting songs of The Smiths' career, Morrissey once said that the version released on their debut album was 'absolutely awful.'

14.  Death of a Disco Dancer
From the album Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
Morrissey's only instrumental performance on any records by The Smiths. During the overdubbing sessions, he sat down at the piano and played some random notes that you can hear in the second half of the song.

13.  Girlfriend in a Coma
Released as single; appeared on the album Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
Like all of the other songs from their final album, 'Girlfriend in a Coma' was never played live. By the time the single and album were released, the band was already over.

12.  That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
Released as single; appeared on the album Meat is Murder (1985)
One of only 2 Smiths singles that never cracked the UK Top 40.

11.  Well I Wonder
Released as b-side to How Soon is Now? single; appeared on the album Meat is Murder (1985)
The only song from the first 3 albums to never have been performed live by The Smiths.

10.  There is a Light that Never Goes Out
Released as single (1992); appeared on the album The Queen is Dead (1986)
One summer evening in 1985, Morrissey stopped by Johnny Marr's house to work on some new material. That single evening produced the following songs: 'Frankly, Mr. Shankly,' 'I Know it's Over' and 'There is a Light that Never Goes Out.' Amazing.

09.  Asleep
Released as b-side to The Boy with the Thorn in His Side single (1985); and on the compilation Louder than Bombs (1987)
Recorded in just 2 hours. It was performed live only once - October 1, 1985 in Scotland.

08.  Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
Released as b-side to William, It was Really Nothing single (1984); and on the compilations Hatful of Hollow (1984) and Louder than Bombs (1987).
The shortest track in The Smiths catalog at approximately 1 minute and 50 seconds.  Although it was a B-side, it is one of their most featured songs on film soundtracks, appearing in Pretty in Pink, Ferris Beuller's Day Off, (500) Days of Summer, etc.

07.  Back to the Old House
Released as b-side to What Difference Does it Make? single (1984)
The BBC version features Morrissey and Marr acoustic. It appears on the compilation Hatful of Hollow (1984), while the full band take is on Louder than Bombs (1987).

06.  Meat is Murder
From the album Meat is Murder (1985)
Once during the Meat is Murder Tour, Morrissey was hit in the face by a string of sausages. Also, the animal sounds on the beginning of this track were taken from one of Mozz's BBC sound effects records.

05.  Last Night I Dreamt that Somebody Loved Me
Released as single; appeared on the album Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
The two minute piano intro was originally intended to be a completely different song.

04.  The Queen is Dead
From the album The Queen is Dead (1986)
Mike Joyce's tribal drum intro was created from a sampled loop of his playing. It was added after all of the backing tracks were already put down to tape.

03.  Reel Around the Fountain
From the album The Smiths (1984)
The opening track off from the first album. The beautiful piano parts, which are especially prominent in the 'bridge' section, are performed by Paul Carrack, who was a member of Squeeze, Roxy Music and Mike and The Mechanics.

02.  I Know it's Over
From the album The Queen is Dead (1986)
The epic third track from The Queen is Dead.

01.  Suffer Little Children
From the album The Smiths (1984)
The lyrics to 'Suffer Little Children' are among Morrissey's earliest, written before his partnership with Johnny Marr began - it was the second song that they completed together back in the summer of 1982. It was performed live at their very first gig at Manchester Ritz on October 4, 1982 and was NEVER performed in concert again by The Smiths.

Thank you to Mozipedia and The Songs That Saved Your Life, both written by Simon Goddard.

If you're a vinyl enthusiast, check out my feature on the Spin Clean Vinyl Record Cleaning Machine:

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  1. 1. The Queen Is Dead
    2. I Know It's Over
    3. Half A Person
    4. Panic
    5. Shoplifters Of The World Unite And Take Over
    6. Oscillate Wildly
    7. How Soon Is Now
    8. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
    9. Barbarism Begins At Home
    10. Bigmouth Strikes Again
    11. Girlfriend In A Coma
    12. Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours
    13. I Started Something That I Couldn't Finish
    14. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
    15. Death Of A Disco Dancer

  2. Ok Brett, I found this site because someone listed the Pixies post on facebook, but you've now touched upon my favorite 3 bands ever (The Cure, The Smiths and the Pixies). You have great taste in music!

    Here's my favorite 5 Smiths songs:

    Cemetery Gates (I'd probably call this #1 if pressed to make a decision)
    I Know it's Over
    What She Said
    Rubber Ring
    Still Ill

  3. Hey ChrisB! Thank you very much. I love doing these 'Best of Lists,' so I can compare notes with other music fans. Of course, I love all 5 of the tracks you've listed there. Thanks for visiting my site! - Bret

  4. The Boy with the thorn in his side is my constant at numero uno. The rest of my top 10-15 change regularly. There is a light is permanently top 5 though.

    1. Wow. Just re-read my picks on this list. I can't believe that 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' was not on it. :) I'll never forget hearing The Queen Is Dead on tape all those years ago. Just listened to it on my way to a performance last week. Classic.